The name ‘Israel’ came from God.  The name was given to Jacob the second born twin son of
Isaac and Rebekah.   Jacob from birth was prophesied by God to be the faithful one to God.  
The first born of the twins, Esau, was prophesied to be of a different character than Jacob.  The
prophesies given by God would prove to be true and correct as the lives of the two are
recorded in the book of Genesis.   (Genesis 27 – 35).  
Jacob was the favorite son of his mother, of a milder character and lived in a close relation to
his mother as compared to his brother Esau.  Esau being the first born, by custom would
receive from his father the prominent role in the family as the first-born son.  But, by
persuasion and considerable help from his mother Rebekah, Jacob deceived his blind father
and received from him the first son blessing, which by custom, having been given, could not
be rescinded.  Esau, learning that he had been cheated out of his birthright by his brother,
determined to kill Jacob after the death of their father Jacob.  Thus, Jacob was forced to run
for his life.  
On his flight while sleeping in the open country with a rock as a pillow, Jacob received from
God a dream.  His dream was angels ascending and descending from heaven on a ladder.  
Jacob awoke and declared that, ‘God is in this place and I did not know it.’  Then God spoke to
Jacob – Jacob replied – and between God and Jacob a covenant was made.  Jacob declared to
God that if God would provide for him and bring him back to this place – ‘then God would be
his God’.   Jacob then continued his flight from his brother and traveled to Haran, the land of
the ancestors of his parents.  
In the land of Haran with his kinfolk, Jacob gained 2 wives, 2 concubines, 11 children and herds
of sheep etc.  In time he determined to return with his family and possessions to the land of his
birth.  On his way returning Jacob wrestled all one night with an angel of the Lord -- desiring
and not giving up until he received a blessing from the Lord.  The following day he met his
brother Esau – made peace with his brother, then continued his journey home.    
Sometime later Jacob by conviction gathered his family, prepared them physically and
spiritually (removed their idols) and went to the place where he had the dream and made the
covenant with God.  There he built an alter, named the place Bethel and offered sacrifice
fulfilling his vow to God – having done this, God at Bethel gave to Jacob the name -- ‘Israel’.  

Please Note ;;
The Name ‘Israel’ was not given to all the blood descendants of Abraham – but ONLY to the one
– Jacob – who had personally met / recognized God, personally spoken with God and
personally made a vow / covenant with God – and kept / fulfilled that covenant.  Thus the name
‘Israel’ as given by God is to a particular / peculiar believing and obedient person and to a
particular /peculiar people who meet /recognize God, commit their life to God and are faithful /
obedient to their God.  

As evidence of the above statements please consider Isaiah 44: 1 – 2.
“Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, and Israel whom I have chosen.”  
There are numerous places (this is one example) where the Lord uses both names of Jacob /
Israel.  He is giving both names on purpose to state a fact as He speaks to the descendants of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob / Israel.  Of the blood descendants of this linage, there are those
who are believing / obedient to God and those who are not.  Thus, God is defining them as
Jacob – the natural person, and Israel -- the spiritual person, yet all being blood descendants.  
Certainly the descendants of Abraham are not all obedient to their Creator.  The Old Testament
is a history of God’s chosen people being rebellious – being disciplined by God and returning
to a degree of faithfulness.  Jesus told some Pharisees who claimed Abraham as their father –
that they were not sons of Abraham, but the devil was their father. (Spiritually speaking).

Please  Note ;;;
By no means does the Old Testament when using the names Jacob and Israel always mean
Jacob == the natural man / unbelieving person -- nor does Israel always mean the spiritual man
/ believing person.  But I believe the Lord uses both names in that manner sufficient enough to
declare that not ALL who are blood descendants of Abraham are ‘sons of Abraham’ –
spiritually.  If our Lord in His Word drew a hard fast defining line between those who are Jacob
and those who are Israel – people who read the scripture would immediately begin to judge
and accuse others as being Jacob or Israel.  But the fact remains that the determining of who
is Jacob or Israel will only be known at opening of the Books at the Great White Throne
Judgment.  Although each person’s eternal destiny is set at the time of death, anyone can until
the time of death repent of sin / unbelief and thus be changed from Jacob to the Israel of God.  

Also in Romans the scripture is clear that the Jews were ‘cut off because of unbelief’ (many but
no all) and the gentiles were grafted in.  --- (Some folks have a problem saying that the church
replaces Israel – (Calling it replacement theology – not ‘replacement’ – but grafted inn
theology).  It is clear that Jesus’ death and the Gospel is for all mankind.  “WHOSOEVER CALLS
UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED” – and many other scriptures state that Christ’s
salvation is no respecter of persons.  

Also in Revelation chapter 7 is given those who are ‘sealed’ and ‘standing before the throne’
in heaven at the time of the end.  While the rebellious are being destroyed on earth (6: 12 – 17)
the family of God are before His throne.  The 144,000 are sealed (called ‘Israel’ because they
are the believers from the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob / Israel) and the great
multitude that no one could number.  The great multitude are sealed because they had ‘washed
their robes – in the blood of the Lamb’ – Jesus Christ.  They are from ‘all nations, tribes,
peoples, and tongues – (this would include the sons of Abraham, who are Israel, who were
saved the same as the Greeks, etc. (Galations 3: 28) during the New Testament era and until
the end through the blood that Jesus shed for all mankind.)  

Also – at the ‘Great White Throne Judgment’ there are only 2 groups of people – those whose
names are written in the ‘Lamb’s Book of Life’ and those whose names were not written by
Jesus Christ in His Book.  



The nation of Israel was declared / re-established in 1948.  Many – most all teachers, preachers,
writers, etc. believe that the establishment of Israel in 1948 was the fulfilment of the prophesy
given to Abraham in Genesis 13: 15, ‘For all the land which you see I give to you and your
descendants forever”.

In the course of history the Jews have been removed from their promised land on 2 separate
occasions.  They were removed by acts / discipline of God that was the result of their
rebellion against their Lord.  The first removal from their land was at the hand of Babylon,
whom God had brought against Judea because of their rebellion.  The Jews returned and
rebuilt the temple and Jerusalem after 70 years.  The second removal came in 70 A D by the
Romans – Jerusalem being completely destroyed.  There was no more nation of the Jews /
Israel until Israel was re-established in 1948.  

With the re-establishment of the nation Israel in 1948, many, especially Christians believed
that to be the sign of the ‘end times’.  Many believed Jesus would return in 1988 – that being
40 years / a generation.  But that did not happen.  Then 60 years – now maybe 70 (Maybe a
generation) years in 2018.  (Certainly Jesus could return in 2018).  There remains a serious
problem --- a large percentage of Jews in Israel do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah
of God.  Could they turn to Jesus Christ and become the Israel of God ? – certainly.  But, God
has never in history forced them to be believe / to be obedient.   

BUT ---  remember the scripture written above from Genesis 13: 15, “For all the land which you
see I give to you and your descendants forever”.  

God said, “I give to you (Abraham) and your descendants forever”.  Abraham has been dead
for centuries and ‘forever’ is not a physical term, but a spiritual term.  

Thus, there is only one scenario that this statement from God to Abraham can possibly
become reality and it is quite sensible .  

The people of the land of Israel will again be removed from their promised land by God.  
Because – they will all die physically by acts of God.  True believers of the last generation of
the descendants of Abraham will be raptured with the last generation whose names are
written in the Lambs Book of life.  Afterward – all the rest will be killed by the ‘Sword’ from
Jesus’ mouth as He and the armies of heaven come for the battle of Armageddon.  Thus
the land of Israel will be desolate for the 3rd time as the result of acts of God.

THEN – the Israel of God will be restored – with their father Abraham and David as king
in their promised land – will reign with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for 1,000 years
(Remember – the millennium is the first resurrection – not physical.  Revelation 20: 4 – 5).     
then the Great White Throne Judgment and then ‘forever’ in the place / land that God
promised to Abraham and his descendants.  

The above explanation is
the only way that the scripture can be literally true.  Abraham –
Himself and all the spiritual sons of Abraham in the land that God promised to them.

Further study at  a study of Revelation   

To define who is the 'Isreal of God' is of utmost importance to the
understanding of Revelation and the end time events.  The Jewish people of
the 21st century do not need a false security -- believing that they may have a
second chance because they are of the blood linage of Abraham.  'No man
comes to the Father, but through Jesus Christ.'